As a business owner, one of the many decisions you’ll face is how to get your website found in Google, Yahoo and Bing. You’ll learn about SEO and will need to decide what your approach will be. Common solutions include hiring an agency or doing it yourself.
Pathfinder offers a third option — guided SEO. More about that to follow.
In the meantime, if you are considering hiring professional services via an SEO agency, here are our favorite getting to know you questions.
1. What is your approach to SEO?
Start with an open question. Listen for signals of a holistic strategy that combines on-site optimization and technical SEO with off-site work such as link building and generating local business reviews.
2. What is your process?
Another open question. Can the agency describe the phases of their work? Does their process align with your business?
3. What SEO tools or software will you utilize?
Listen for specifics. Anticipate hearing tools mentioned such as Google Analytics, Google Search Console, Bing Webmaster Tools along with paid tools — Moz Pro, SEMRush, SpyFu, and Ahrefs.
4. What specific tasks will you complete each month?
Avoid signing off on vague retainer services which don’t have concrete tasks that are laid out and accomplished each month.
5. How will you communicate with me?
SEO isn’t a behind the scenes marketing initiative. It requires communication and collaboration. Listen for ongoing phone calls, monthly reports, and email updates.
Overwhelmed by SEO? Try a
6. What will you need from me, the client?
Again, SEO requires collaboration. Be wary of sales pitches that claim you, the client, won’t need to be involved. You want to participate. You know your audience and business best. The agency knows SEO. You’ll need to work together to get your business found.
7. Do you adhere to all of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines?
This should be an easy yes. Ask for specifics about link building. You don’t want an agency violating Google’s terms of service by buying shady links.
8. Do you have a contract or a minimum term?
Avoid long-term contracts with new providers. 3 month maximum. Ideally, month-to-month.
9. Can you share a case study for a customer who is similar to me?
Guaranteed results are a red flag in SEO. Instead, look for customer success stories.
10. What is your pricing structure?
Does the agency have an hourly rate? Is there a one-time project option? SEO takes time and that can be expensive. Often, local businesses struggle to find an agency that they can afford. Better to know that up front.
11. Who will be doing the work?
Who will be my main point of contact? Will that person be doing the work or just communicating about it? How big is your team?
A Third Path
Pathfinder was created by an SEO agency. Over the past ten years, we’ve found that the two traditional solutions to SEO — hiring an agency and doing it yourself — left many small business owners out. Often, small business owners can’t find an SEO agency that is both good and affordable.
They then go DIY and find themselves lost and frustrated. And the DIY solution still costs money for various SEO tools and softwares.
That’s why we created a third path — guided SEO. We’ll share our SEO process which acts as your map. We’ll come alongside your efforts with ongoing monthly coaching sessions. And we’ll give you the tools you need without unnecessary complexity or data.
The first step in our approach is getting your SEO score. Let’s find out where you are today on the map so we can create a path forward to getting found in Google, Yahoo and Bing.
Lindsay Halsey is a co-founder of Pathfinder SEO. She has over 10 years of experience working in SEO with small to large businesses. Lindsay focuses on teaching business owners and freelancers how to get found in Google, Yahoo, and Bing via a guided approach to SEO. Stay in touch on Twitter - @linds_halsey.